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On a train...
I am sitting on a train. It is dark, it is night. I am curled up in my seat, anticipating sleep, but am wide awake, and alert to my surroundings. The wheels seem to glide quietly and effortlessly on the train tracks and I can hear soft snoring from the far corner of the train car.
I correct my posture and lean into the aisle. I am bombarded by unfamiliar faces. I am alone, and homesick, and this does not help.
There is a single man sitting across from me, slouched over awkwardly in his seat, with one arm propped up underneath his head, and the other clutching a faded leather bag.
This man is sitting in such a bizarre position, that I can’t help but feel that he is going to be waking up with an aching back. I also wonder what is inside his bag for him to be clutching it so tightly.
He looks to be in his late sixties or early seventies, and his face is covered with lines and deep crevasses, almost like a very detailed map. His hands seem to have similar qualities to his face, also looking like they have been carved into dozens of tiny designs.
He has freckles, the kind that a man of his age might develop; they almost make him look slightly discoloured, giving him a yellowish tint. He has a defined, square bone structure, but it is hidden by sagging skin.
His salt and pepper hair is unruly and hidden by a woolly grey winter cap. His eyebrows are just as untamed as his hair, yet just as strong and angular as his face. They compliment his facial structure well.
He’s a well put together man, I can tell by his attire. He has a grey suede coat and silky looking pants, both to match his hat, and he wears black leather boots which rise just above his ankles.
Though he is aged, this man sleeps with a look of innocence on his face. The way a sleeping boy would appear; ready for morning, ready to take on a new day with eagerness and devotion.
He does not look frail either; even at his age he still seems to radiate a youth and innocence that only a child could.
His small mouth seems to curve upward into the formation of a smile, and I wonder what he could possibly be dreaming about.
About his youth?
About a life well lived?
I imagine him to have lived a full and enriched life. I imagine him to have experience all there is to experience; the good and the bad, love and loss, pride and envy, and I imagine him to have cherished it all.
I imagine him to have a large and happy family; to have had children of his own, and for his children to have children of their own.
And yet I can only imagine these things about him. I can never be sure. And after this man exits the train in the morning, I will never know of his life or the experience he has to share.
And as I lean back into the aisle of the train, I observe and study the population of the car and wonder what their stories could be.
But all I can do is wonder...